Cats get six All-Stars

All Ireland hurling champions Kilkenny capped their all-conquering year as six of the team that this year claimed the county's first ever four in-a-row were named today in the 2009 GAA All-Stars hurling team, sponsored by Vodafone.

The awards will be presented at the GAA All-Stars banquet in the Citywest Hotel in Dublin tomorrow night when the GAA Football All-Stars of 2009 as well as Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year will be announced in both hurling and football.

Today's announcement of the hurling All-Stars sees Kilkenny forward Henry Shefflin join his former team-mate DJ Carey and ex-Kerry footballer Pat Spillane at the top of the all-time leaderboard with nine awards.

Shefflin is also the only player to receive an All-Star award on eight successive occasions.

In all, five counties are represented on this year's hurling All-Stars selection, with defeated All-Ireland finalists Tipperary receiving two awards less than the champions with four - two more than the Premier County received last year.

Waterford's Michael 'Brick' Walsh and John Mullane both appear on the All-Stars line-up for the second time, with centre-back Walsh having previously been selected at midfield (2007) and corner forward Mullane also getting a new berth - his previous award (2003) was at right half-forward.

Notably also, Dublin midfielder Alan McCrabbe wins his county's first award since Brian McMahon was selected in 1990.

The six first-time winners are Tipperary's Padraig Maher (full-back), Lar Corbett (right half-forward) and Noel McGrath (left full-forward), Kilkenny goalkeeper PJ Ryan and Dublin ace McCrabbe.

Ryan is the first Kilkenny goalkeeper to be selected as an All-Star since Michael Walsh was a winner back in 1993.

The county breakdown is Kilkenny (6), Tipperary (4), Galway (2), Waterford (2) and Dublin (1).

2009 VODAFONE GAA HURLING ALL-STARS TEAM:

Goalkeeper:

1. PJ Ryan (Kilkenny), 1st award

Full-Backs:

2. Ollie Canning (Galway) 4th award (‘01, ‘03, ’05)

3. Padraig Maher (Tipperary) 1st award

4. Jackie Tyrrell (Kilkenny) 3rd award (07, ’08)

Half-Backs:

5. Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny) 7TH award in a row (‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07, ’08)

6. Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh (Waterford)2nd award (’07)

7. Conor O’Mahony (Tipperary)2nd award (’08)

Midfield:

8. Michael Rice (Kilkenny) 1st award

9. Alan McCrabbe (Dublin) 1st award

Half-Forwards:

10. Lar Corbett (Tipperary) 1st award

11. Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny)9th award (‘00, ‘02, ‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, ’07, ’08)

12. Eoin Larkin (Kilkenny)2nd award (’08)

Full-Forwards:

13. Noel McGrath (Tipperary) 1st award

14. Joe Canning (Galway) 2nd award (’08)

15. John Mullane (Waterford) 2nd award (’03)

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